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Meet Joe Black (1998)

Death, who takes the form of a young man, asks a media mogul to act as a guide to teach him about life on Earth and in the process he falls in love with his guide's daughter.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 6 more credits »
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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Black / Young Man in Coffee Shop
David S. Howard ...
Eddie Sloane
Lois Kelly-Miller ...
Jahnni St. John ...
Jamaican Woman's Daughter
Richard Clarke ...
Diane Kagan ...
Construction Foreman
Suzanne Hevner ...


Bill Parrish, media tycoon, loving father and still a human being, is about to celebrate his 65th birthday. One morning, he is contacted by the Inevitable - by hallucination, as he thinks. Later, Death itself enters his home and his life, personified in a man's body: Joe Black has arrived. His intention was to take Bill with him, but accidentally, Joe's former host and Bills beautiful daughter Susan have already met. Joe begins to develop certain interest in life on earth as well as in Susan, who has no clue who she's flirting with. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He's Expecting You. See more »


Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, some sexuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

13 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

¿Conoces a Joe Black?  »

Box Office


$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$15,017,995 (USA) (13 November 1998)


$44,606,335 (USA) (5 February 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (edited TV)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt and Marcia Gay Harden; and one Oscar nominee: June Squibb. See more »


The amount of ice in Bill's scotch glass varies from shot to shot when the family is having drinks. See more »


[first lines]
Construction Foreman: Please. Please. Don't worry. Don't worry.
Allison: It's utter chaos around here. And I'm terrified we're running out of time. Am I trying to be too perfect?
See more »


Referenced in The Tracey Fragments (2007) See more »


What A Wonderful World
Written by George David Weiss (as George David Weis) and Bob Thiele
See more »

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User Reviews

Reflective And Philosophical
16 January 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

For a long time I put off watching this, because I have no interest in superficial, teen comedy flicks, as implied by the film's pedestrian title and by the casting of a youthful Brad Pitt. But "Meet Joe Black" is anything but "superficial", and "teen comedy" does not describe this movie at all.

Set in contemporary New York, the film follows a wealthy family whose patriarchal sixty-five year old head, played by Anthony Hopkins, is nearing the end of his life. Enter "Joe Black" (Brad Pitt), a handsome, but enigmatic, young man with an unusual agenda.

This is a thought-provoking movie about mortality and emotional separation. It will appeal to viewers with a reflective and philosophical nature. But the film also has humor, which keeps it from being grim. The pace is slow. There's lots of silence and stillness, entirely appropriate, given the subject matter. Among other things, the film presents the novel idea that a supernatural being can be subject to human emotions, and can make mistakes in judgment resulting from those emotions.

The film is not perfect. The plot is a tad egocentric. There's no reference to the universality and ongoing occurrence of death outside the confines of this family. Also, why now? Why does death choose to engage life in our present world, why not five hundred years ago? Minor script changes could have addressed these issues. The initial meeting between Susan (Claire Forlani) and Joe Black seems a little too convenient, but forms the basis for a plot twist that strengthens the overall story.

The acting is excellent. Anthony Hopkins is, as usual, outstanding. I would not have cast Brad Pitt in the role he plays, but he does a good job. Appropriate for this movie, the acting style for both Pitt and Forlani is one wherein they communicate their characters to viewers largely by means of their eyes, which, as taught by ancient philosophers, are the windows of the soul.

For viewers who liked "The Sixth Sense", another serious film with depth of meaning, I recommend "Meet Joe Black" most highly.

106 of 134 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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